Green groups warn new mining official: follow Digong’s instructions

ATM Statement

July 14, 2017

Green groups warn new mining official: follow Digong’s instructions

Screen Capture of a Facebook post featuring MGB chief Wilfredo Moncano induc

Screen Capture of a Facebook post showing MGB Dir. Wilfredo Moncano inducting a sports event of two mining companies.

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) is sending a strong reminder to newly-appointed MGB Director Atty. Wilfredo G. Moncano to follow the instructions of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte. Moncano was appointed to head the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the DENR last July 12, 2017.

We believe that Pres. Duterte issued clear directives to the MGB on the same day, when he lashed out against irresponsible miners for the environmental destruction they left in their operations.

Moncano should take seriously the statements and demands of Pres. Duterte to hold the “rich miners” accountable for their violations.

Moncano should not misinterpret the president’s order to “improve the ease of doing business” by relaxing the mining laws and regulations or being preoccupied in reversing the closure and suspension orders of mining operations by former DENR Sec. Gina Lopez.

We will hold on to his promise that he “will continue Lopez’s protection of the environment and see to it that laws will be strictly followed”.

We strongly suggest that Moncano disclose all his previous engagements as a mining engineer for private companies. This should dispel any suspicion of potential “conflict of interest” in his capacity as MGB Director.

We recall with caution that in 2014, Moncano was slammed by Davao City Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang for making statements against pending national and local laws intended to make Davao City mining-free. This action prompted former Representative Luz Ilagan (Gabriela Partylist) to comment then that “as usual, DENR is again lawyering for mining companies”.

Moncano’s stated priority to network with the mining industry and to engage in technical discussions is a narrow perspective for an MGB Director. ATM believes that mining is never just a technical or engineering issue.

Mining creates impacts at the social, environmental, cultural, political, and even health aspects of communities. To reduce the mandate of the MGB director on technical enforcement is a disservice to all the mining-affected communities who continue to resist irresponsible mining.

ATM reiterates its vigilance towards the DENR and particularly the MGB, as we witness the continued regulatory capture of the agency by the mining industry. Moncano faces a DENR that is attempting to introduce reforms to address corruption and genuine enforcement of mining laws and regulation.

We will closely examine every decision he makes and any order he issues that will put the rural poor and the mining-affected communities at a disadvantage.

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Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who oppose the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of EO 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995, and passage of the Alternative Minerals Management Bill.

For more details:

Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, (0927) 761.76.02 <nc@alyansatigilmina.net>

Karl Isaac Santos, ATM Media and Communications Staff, (0917) 149.17.17<media.comms@alyansatigilmina.net>

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